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Navigating Through The Pandemic

Here’s a case study of how Baker Tilly, considered as one of the best places to work, navigated the course of its operations during the lockdown brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dato’ Lock Peng Kuan is the Managing Partner, Audit Assurance, Baker Tilly Malaysia

Without a doubt, life post the Movement Control Order (MCO) and the subsequent extension of the lockdown in the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) and the resulting Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) has changed dramatically. Even as the dust settles – companies as well as individuals and industries at large will experience paradigm shifts with everyone now facing a “New Normal”.

What are the possible the ramifications that will face us? What can still be salvaged and how can we at best move forward? YES (PropertY PeoplE PlaceS) Paper zooms into the strategies employed by Baker Tillly as a considerable case study of these trying times to assess how the organisation, considered as among the best places to work, navigated its way during the unprecedented lockdown and its aftermath.

Similar to many businesses out there, in times of crisis, Baker Tilly as a group considers two things as paramount: Its people and the organisation’s cash flow. In fact, as a professional services firm, the most important element for the group’s success lies with its people, as Dato’ Lock Peng Kuan, Managing Partner (Audit & Assurance) of Baker Tilly will readily testify.

“Our people are not only an asset to us but the most important asset that we have in our line of service,” he maintains.

Fortunately, the group had the foresight to plan well ahead into the future by employing the use of the digital medium, rendering it adaptable in the face of the crisis.

“A year prior to the MCO period, we invested heavily in automation and technology infrastructure to provide for a better work-life integration for our people. This investment paid-off as it enabled us to work seamlessly from home when the MCO was announced. Our priority immediately shifted to our people. And, our first instinct was to ensure that the well-being and safety of our people were protected,” he shares.

“During the duration of the MCO, we were able to regularly engage with our colleagues to ensure that their well-being were taken care of. We were constantly checking in on our people, not so much as to check on the status of their work — but to provide an avenue for our people to stay connected, and more importantly, to stay sane,” he explains.

However, as “technologically advanced” as Baker Tilly is, there were still audit procedures that could not be performed remotely due to the infrastructure limitation of the entities being audited, which inevitably caused work to pile up during the MCO. This meant that there was a lot of work to catch up on after the MCO period within a very short period
of time, especially when the extended reporting deadlines clashed with existing statutory deadlines, he relates.

“In preparing for the ‘The New Normal’ post-MCO period, a lot of time was spent focussing on training and finetuning the group’s discussions in response to the audit and accounting challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. We knew that as a group, we had to adapt to a new way of working as quickly as possible while also maintaining the same level of quality when the floodgates of work opened,” he adds.

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